Planks might look easy and boring that’s why most people hate them and also skip them during their workouts, but it’s an exercise that is a necessity for anyone, if you’re serious about developing a strong core. It’s an anti-extension exercise, meaning your abdominal tighten to prevent your lower back from sagging. This is a much better way to train your core than traditional Crunches.
Planks are the single most effective exercise for your core,they strengthen the abs and can prevent many muscle imbalances, as well as prevent back pain and poor posture. But the basic Plank might be feeling a little stale. If so, then here are a couple of variations you can try to Spice up your workouts.
Advanced Plank Variations That Work Your Core Hard
1. Plank with Leg Raise
Begin on exercise mat, assume a push-up position but with your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Brace your abs, clench your glutes, and keep your body straight from head to heels. Now raise your right leg and hold that position for 1 second. Lower your right leg and raise your left leg. Ensure core is engaged to provide support and avoid straining the lower back. Continue alternating back and forth for the prescribed time or reps.
2. Plank with Row
For this exercise, you’ll want to grab two dumbbells of the same weight. Get into plank position with your legs wider than hip-width distance; the wider stance makes you more stable. Hold onto your dumbbells, keeping your wrist locked to protect the joint. With your core tight and your glutes engaged, exhale, stabilizing your torso as you lift your right elbow to row; feel your right scapula sliding toward your spine as you bend your elbow up toward the ceiling. Keeping your neck long and energized, return the weight to the ground and repeat the movement on your left side. Do 10 reps per arm, and repeat for three sets.
3. Incline Plank
Just like the standard plank, an incline plank is a simple but incredibly effective body weight workout that targets and strengthens your core muscles. Use a step or a foot stool to raise your feet slightly higher than your shoulders and hold for one minute. As you get stronger, you can make the incline higher by using a chair or a bench. Just make sure that you take your time getting up from this position; you want to avoid the possibility of getting dizzy!
4. Reverse Plank
The Reverse Plank is a fairly simple exercise with a low risk for injury. Start by sitting on your mat or the floor with your legs out in front. Place your hands on the ground on either side of your hips, fingertips facing towards your feet. Keeping your hands and heels in place, point your toes and lift your butt off the ground. Hold for one minute.